As of January 2018, 30 U.S. states and the District of Columbia have enacted laws legalizing the use of marijuana in some form. The move has eased the burden on many people who have been using marijuana illegally for years. But although many states have approved marijuana use, either for medicinal or recreational purposes, state governments have not yet allowed the legal cultivation of the crop.

Many U.S. states have allowed the limited use of cannabis, mostly for medical purposes. Some states, such as West Virginia and Louisiana, only allow the sale of medicinal marijuana products, such as pills or oils. Other states will no longer prosecute for the possession of small amounts of cannabis.

Which U.S. States Have Legalized Marijuana?

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Eight states and the District of Columbia have enacted laws for the expansive legalization of marijuana for recreational use. One of more recent states to legalize the recreational use of marijuana is California, with a law that took effect on the first day of the year. Massachusetts will approve retail sales of cannabis in July. Maine has legalized marijuana, although there are no rules yet adopted for the sale and growing of cannabis.

The following states have legalized the medical and recreational use of marijuana:

  • Alaska
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Oregon
  • Washington

These states have legalized the recreational use of marijuana:

  • Maine
  • Nevada

These states have legalized the medical use of marijuana:

  • Arizona
  • New Mexico
  • Arkansas
  • Louisiana
  • Florida
  • Montana
  • North Dakota
  • Minnesota
  • Michigan
  • Illinois
  • Ohio
  • Pennsylvania
  • West Virginia
  • New York
  • New Jersey
  • Vermont
  • New Hampshire
  • Connecticut
  • Hawaii

Unlisted states do not yet have laws that legalize marijuana use, or at least that we could fine.  List is subject to change.


Ever heard of countries that permitted marijuana usage? This might be new to you because you are used to hearing police officers running after marijuana users. Well, marijuana in some countries is allowed and you can even see it available in the grocery store. Check this infographic that provides details about countries that permitted marijuana.

Countries and Cities that Legalized Marijuana [infographic]